It is reported that in the year after Buddha Shakyamuni attained enlightenment, he was asked by the king Chandrabhadra of Shambhala to teach the Kalachakratantra. The Buddha manifested himself in the form of Kalachakra meditational deity in the South India and gave the full teaching and initiation of this tantra. The Kalachakra teaching was then transmitted through a lineage of 7 kings and 25 propagators.
The Mandela of Kalahari has three major squares and corresponding entrance gates. The Mandela has been elaborately described in Nispannayogavali of Abhyakaragupta. The Mandela, according to this Nispannayogavali, has more than 700 deities standing or seated holding various emblems. There are two ways of presenting Kalachakra. The first one is to represent all the deities in the proper order according to the text and while the other is to depict the Mandela in the symbols of animals, and flowers. Examples of such Kalachakra Mandala paintings can be found in the potala palace and in the Musee Guimet Collection, show the divinities in figures, but even there the artist find it impossible to depict all the elements described in the text.
This painting shows a heavenly palace with torona, watch towers, middle gates, and the central palace (Kutagar) in which the main divinity Kalachakra and its consort Vishvamata reside. The principal deities in the Mandela are in the orange pericarp of the central green lotus. They are surrounded by four Buddhas and their consorts and depicted in the colors and positions prescribed in the text. These include Amoghsiddhi (dark green) in the east, Ratnasambhava (red) in the south, Vairocana (yellow) in the west and Amitabha (white) in the north. The positions and colors of the Buddha in this Kalachakra are different from the typical portrayals.
The four entrances nearest to the center are said to be Cittacakra (mind-wheels), in the middle entrances are said to be vakcakra (voice-wheels) represented by four wrathful deities in their consorts in standing positions. These include Vighnantaka (east), Prajnanaka, Yamantaka and Padmantaka. Outside the gates of vakcakra are figures of various animals, including a corpse and marigold-like lotus flowers. They include a deer, buffalo, ram, peacock, elephant, goose, bull, makara, mouse and garuda. They are the vehicles of various divinities of Hindu pantheon. For instance, a corpse is a vehicle of the deity Narrate, a deer is the vehicle of vaudeville and so forth.
The outermost gates belong to third circle called Kayacakra (body-wheel). There are 4 gates and 4 chariots one in each gate. A green chariot is drawn by boars at the eastern gate, a res chariot is drawn by horse in the southern gate, yellow chariot is drawn by elephants in the western gates and a white chariot is drawn by the lions at the northern gate. The three-storied gate-houses are inhabited by many divinities. Two more chariots, Zenith and Nadir, are on the roofs of the houses. Chariot at the zenith is driven by Sardula and one at the nadir is driven by Garuda. The beautiful multi colored writing in the Ranjana script is seen at different places. They are seed syllables such as Hum, Vam, and Yam representing various Tantric divinities and planets.